Merv Griffin

Game show creator, Actor, Radio station owner
One of the most successful men in 20th century entertainment, Merv Griffin parlayed a moderately popular career as a big band singer and game show frontman into a long-running stint as the host of his own talk show, and ... Read more »
Born: 07/06/1925 in San Mateo, California, USA

Filmography

Actor (53)

Pioneers of Television 2008 (Tv Show)

Actor

Searching for Orson 2005 (Movie)

Interviewee (Actor)

The 32nd Annual Daytime Emmy Awards 2004 - 2005 (TV Show)

Actor

TV Land Moguls 2003 - 2004 (TV Show)

Host

When Disco Ruled The World 2003 - 2004 (TV Show)

Actor

Bobby Vinton: A Melody of Love 2001 - 2002 (TV Show)

Actor

Dick Van Patten: The Sure Bet 2000 - 2001 (TV Show)

Actor

Rosemary Clooney: Girl Singer 2000 - 2001 (TV Show)

Actor

Dick Van Dyke: Put on a Happy Face 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Actor

Disney's Hercules 1998 - 2000 (TV Show)

Voice

Vanna White: Game Show Goddess 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Actor

Elizabeth Taylor: The E! True Hollywood Story 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Actor

Intimate Portrait: Eva Gabor 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Actor

Merv Griffin: Master of the Game 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Actor

Off the Menu: The Last Days of Chasen's 1998 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Merv Griffin's New Year's Eve Special 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Actor

Hope & Gloria 1962 - 1963, 1968 - 1972, 1995 - 1996 (Tv Show)

Actor

The 22nd Annual Daytime Emmy Awards 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Presenter

Merv Griffin's New Year's Eve Special 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Actor

Sinatra 75: The Best Is Yet to Come 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Actor

A Conversation With Dinah 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

Dinah Comes Home Again 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

Echoes of the Big Bands With Merv Griffin 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

The 1989 Miss America Pageant 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

Secrets Men Never Share 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Actor

The 61st Annual Academy Awards Presentation 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Performer

The 75th Anniversary of Beverly Hills 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Actor

Secrets Women Never Share 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Actor

The 12th Annual Circus of the Stars 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Actor

All Star Party For Clint Eastwood 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Actor

The Eleventh Annual Circus of the Stars 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Actor

Alice in Wonderland 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)

Actor

An All-Star Party For "Dutch" Reagan 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)

Actor

Rickles on the Loose 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)

Actor

The Tenth Annual Circus of the Stars 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)

Actor

Circus of the Stars 1984 - 1985 (TV Show)

Actor

Scene of the Crime 1984 - 1985 (TV Show)

Actor

The Merv Griffin Show 1972 - 1985 (TV Show)

Actor

Slapstick of Another Kind 1984 (Movie)

Anchorman (Actor)

The Lonely Guy 1984 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Las Vegas: Palace of Stars 1978 - 1979 (TV Show)

Actor

The Seduction of Joe Tynan 1979 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Two-Minute Warning 1976 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Merv Griffin and the Christmas Kids 1973 - 1974 (TV Show)

Actor

The Merv Griffin Show 1962 - 1963, 1968 - 1972 (Tv Show)

Actor

Hello Down There 1969 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Phantom of the Rue Morgue 1954 (Movie)

Georges Brevert (Actor)

The Boy From Oklahoma 1953 (Movie)

Steve (Actor)

Intimate Portrait: Vanna White (TV Show)

Narrator

So This Is Love? (Movie)

Buddy Nash (Actor)
Producer (14)

Wheel of Fortune 1974 - 2014 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Jeopardy! 1962 - 1963, 1968 - 1972, 1995 - 1996, 2006 - 2009 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Lisa Williams: Life Among the Dead 1962 - 1963, 1968 - 1972, 1995 - 1996, 2006 - 2008 (Tv Show)

Executive Producer

Merv Griffin's Crosswords 1962 - 1963, 1968 - 1972, 1995 - 1996, 2006 - 2008 (Tv Show)

Executive Producer

Shade 2004 (Movie)

(Producer)

Dance Fever 2002 - 2003 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Gilda Radner: It's Always Something 2001 - 2002 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus 2000 - 2001 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Ainsley Harriott Show 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Click 1997 - 1999 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Who Makes You Laugh? 2 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Monopoly 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Super Jeopardy! 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Inside the Osmonds (TV Show)

Executive Producer
Music (11)

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 2014 (Movie)

("Jeopardy Theme") (Song)

The Three Stooges 2012 (Movie)

("Jeopardy Theme") (Song)

Music and Lyrics 2007 (Movie)

("Jeopardy Theme") (Song)

Inspector Gadget 1999 (Movie)

("Jeopardy Theme") (Song)

Sour Grapes 1998 (Movie)

("Theme from 'Wheel of Fortune')) (Music)

The Santa Clause 1994 (Movie)

("Jeopardy Theme") (Song)

The Beverly Hillbillies 1993 (Movie)

("Jeopardy Theme") (Song)

White Men Can't Jump 1992 (Movie)

("JEOPARDY! Theme") (Song)

Career Opportunities 1991 (Movie)

("The Jeopardy! Theme") (Music)

Two-Minute Warning 1976 (Movie)

("National Anthem") (Song Performer)

The Christmas List (TV Show)

Song
Writer (2)

Lisa Williams: Voices From the Other Side 1962 - 1963, 1968 - 1972, 1995 - 1996, 2006 - 2009 (Tv Show)

Creator

Dance Fever (TV Show)

Creator
Other (1)

Wheel of Fortune 2000 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Creative Consultant

Biography

One of the most successful men in 20th century entertainment, Merv Griffin parlayed a moderately popular career as a big band singer and game show frontman into a long-running stint as the host of his own talk show, and later, as the creator of some of American television's best loved game shows, including "Wheel of Fortune" (syndicated, 1972- ) and "Jeopardy!" (NBC/syndicated, 1964- ). Griffin's business acumen and larger-than-life personality weathered numerous ups (his wildly profitable real estate ventures) and downs (two palimony suits, which called his sexuality into question). By the time of his death from prostate cancer in 2007, he was one of Hollywood's most enduring figures.

Relationships

Mervyn Edward Griffin Sr

Father

Rita Griffin

Mother

Barbara Eyre

Sister
older died of cancer on October 22, 2001

Eva Gabor Actor

Companion
Dated on-and-off for nine years until her death July 1995; Griffin claimed they were about to get married at one point (with Nancy Reagan as matron of honor), but they could not decide on where they would live and whom Gabor would retain from her staff, ultimately driving them apart

Anthony Griffin

Son
born in 1959 married with two children, a daughter Farah and a son Donovan Mervyn

Elmer Griffin

Uncle
owned a tennis club in Hollywood

Julann Wright

Wife
met when she was working as secretary to Robert Q Lewis married on May 18, 1958 filed for divorce in 1973 divorced in June 1976

EDUCATION

San Mateo High School

San Mateo , California

University of San Francisco

San Francisco , California
quit school to apply for a job as pianist at radio station

St Matthew Grammar School

San Mateo , California

San Mateo Junior College

San Mateo , California 1942 - 1944

Milestones

2003

Sold the Beverly Hilton Hotel

2000

Announced plans to team with George Hamilton to produce film based on Hamilton's childhood

2000

Executive produced the daily syndicated talk/cooking series "The Ainsley Harriott Show"

1998

Opend the Coconut Club, located in the Beverly Hilton Hotel

1997

Served as creative consultant on "Wheel of Fortune 2000", a spin-off version of "Wheel of Fortune" for children

1996

After pulling Resorts International into the black, merged it with Sol Kerzner's Sun International Hotels, making him a major stockholder of Sun International, a $1.5 billion company trading on the NYSE

1991

Sued for $11.3 million by Deney Terrio, former host of "Dance Fever", for sexual harrassment; suit dismissed with prejudice

1991

Sued for $200 million in palimony claim by former secretary-driver-horse trainer-bodyguard Brent Plott; suit dismissed with prejudice

1988

Won control of Resorts International from Donald Trump; Resorts International was forced into bankruptcy; company was subsequently reorganized

1988

Established the Griffin Group, a conglomerate of seven different companies, of which Merv Griffin Hotels is the largest entity (operating eight luxury properties)

1986

Sold Merv Griffin Enterprises to Columbia Pictures (then owned by Coca-Cola) for a reported $250 million

1984

Merv Griffin Enterprises produced syndicated version of "Jeopardy!", hosted by Alex Trebek

1983

Merv Griffin Enterprises produced syndicated version of "Wheel of Fortune", hosted by Pat Sajak

1979

Created and produced the syndicated series "Dance Fever" hosted by Deney Terrio and later Adrian Zmed

1975

Created the "Wheel of Fortune," which ran as part of NBC's daytime lineup (with exception of July 1989-January 1991 when it aired on CBS)

1975

Produced short-lived, syndicated evening version of "Jeopardy!" (with Art Fleming as host)

1969

Convinced CBS to move the show from NYC to Los Angeles

1965

Returned to host the 90-minute syndicated version of "The Merv Griffin Show" (with a two year stint at CBS from 1969-1971 often going head-to-head against Johnny Carson and Joey Bishop)

1964

Formed Merv Griffin Productions (MPG)

1964

Created TV game show "Jeopardy!" which ran as part of NBC's daytime lineup; Griffin's wife initially came up with the idea for a show where the answers were given and contestants came up with the questions; Griffin developed the idea and produced the show

1962

Served as a guest host of "The Tonight Show" for Jack Paar

1962

Began hosting the hourlong daytime talk show "The Merv Griffin Show" (NBC) which debuted in October 1962 on the same day Carson began hosting "The Tonight Show"; show was canceled in April 1963

1958

Hosted primetime NBC game show "Play Your Hunch"

1956

Broadway debut in the musical-comedy "Finian's Rainbow"

1955

Debut as TV host, "Look Up and Live" (CBS)

1954

Regular on TV variety show "Summer Holiday"

1953

Film debut, "By the Light of the Silvery Moon"

1953

Had principal role opposite Katherine Grayson in "So This Is Love"

1952

Signed to a long-term contract with Warner Bros.

1951

TV debut as vocalist, "The Freddy Martin Show"

1950

Had Number 1 hit recording with "I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts"

1948

Was vocalist with Freddy Martin's orchestra

1944

Hosted "The Merv Griffin Show" on KFRC, ultimately earning $1,100 a week

Toured nightclubs as singer

Appeared in an industrial film as composer Stephen Foster

Formed Merv Griffin Enterprises

Was playing the piano by age four

Hired as a singer on KFRC radio in San Francisco

Bonus Trivia

.

During his crooning heydey, there was a Merv Griffin Fan Club, whose president was "a large-toothed girl with pigtails [named] Carol Burnett."

.

He gave Jack Warner $5000 to terminate his contract with Warner Bros.

.

His empire includes radio stations, real estate, race horses and his own private wine label, among other commodities.

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